Richmond Family Law FAQ
Q:What is a geographic restriction and how can one help me as a noncustodial parent?
A:A geographic restriction places certain geographic restrictions on where your children may reside. For instance, your children may be limited to residing in Harris or any contiguous (bordering) county. The geographic restriction may be found in your final orders from your divorce or child custody case. Without a geographic restriction as a noncustodial parent, you could end up in a situation where you are following your co-parent around the area, state or even country in order to remain close enough to your kids to exercise possession of them.
Q:Do fathers have an opportunity to win primary custody of their kids?
A:Absolutely. When making determinations related to the best interests of your children, judges may not give preference to you, or your co-parent based on your gender. That is stated in the Texas Family Code. From that perspective your co-parent will not have an advantage over you. However, it is also true that mothers more often than fathers tend to exercise primary caretaker responsibility of children because of several different factors. If you are a dad and have never chosen or had the opportunity to care for your child on a primary basis, then it is unlikely that you will be able to do so after your child custody or divorce case.
Q:How do I know if I am common law married?
A:There are three conditions that must be present all at the same time to be found to be common law married in Texas. Number one: you and your spouse must have agreed to be married. Number two: you must hold yourselves out to the community as being married. Number three: you must live together under the same roof. All these conditions must be met at the same time to be common law married. A common law marriage carries with it the same rights and responsibilities as a traditional marriage in terms of the need to obtain a divorce when ending the relationship.
Q:My ex-spouse stopped paying me child support. What can I do about it?
A:This is a classic situation where an enforcement petition should be filed. An enforcement petition seeks to initiate a legal case where you can bring violations or a prior court order to the judge’s attention. You would state the specific violations of the order, cite the order’s language that was violated, list the number of occurrences and the dates on which the violations occurred. There are a range of potential consequences for violating a court order including being found in contempt of court as well as possible jail time.
Q:I pay my ex-spouse spousal maintenance, but she started living with her boyfriend. Do I still need to pay?
A:You would need to continue to pay the spousal maintenance as ordered in your Final Decree of Divorce even if she has moved in with a significant other. However, this cohabitation is grounds to terminate the spousal maintenance after you file a petition to terminate the maintenance payments. Proof would need to be provided to the court that shows conclusively that your ex-spouse is cohabitating with a person with whom she is having an intimate relationship with.